Caregiving Advice During the Holidays

While there is no “holiday break” from caregiving, it can still be a special time of year for you and your loved one.
The holiday season presents opportunities for your friends and family to contribute to your loved one’s care, for you to seek emotional support and for your loved one to enjoy reminiscing on holidays past. During the most difficult transitions in life, it is especially important to keep up your traditions and celebrate the time you have together.

Let Others Have a Chance to Give

We often say it is better to give than to receive. As a caregiver, however, you constantly give. So while your friends and family take a break from the regular rhythm of their lives, invite them to lend an extra hand in caring for your loved one.
It could be something as simple as taking over some chores so you can make some time for yourself to recharge. Alternatively, your friends and family could hire trained caregiving professionals to give you a respite.
You deserve to share in the joy of the holiday season, too, and any time you take off to reduce your stress will make you a better caregiver when you return.

Share Your Feelings

The holidays remind us to cherish the people dear to us and rekindle our relationships with friends and family far from our day-to-day lives.
Take this opportunity to talk to people about your hopes, fears and struggles. You will benefit from unburdening yourself of these thoughts, and those whom you share them with will gain an invaluable perspective on life.
You can also benefit from confiding in an experienced counselor, who can discuss your concerns without distress or judgment.

Listen to Your Loved One’s Memories

One simple reason we venerate the holidays is that as much as the world may change in a lifetime, the holidays remain very much timeless.
Everyone has memories of holiday seasons from their youth, and encouraging your loved one to share happy memories is a wonderful way to bridge the gap between generations. Make your loved one feel valued, and take everyone’s minds off the present day’s challenges.
No matter how long you have known your loved one, you will always find something new to discover about the person they once were and the world they lived in.
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Keep Up Your Traditions

Though it is arduous just to keep up the activities of daily living as a caregiver, it is worth making an effort to nurture your holiday traditions in whatever ways you can.
At their heart, traditions show us no matter what misfortune may befall an individual, the life of the family and the community goes on. All people have a need to feel part of something greater than themselves, and your loved one will take as much comfort as you do, or even more, in knowing the traditions they observed will continue even if they cannot participate.

Celebrate and Be Thankful

To rejoice may seem like strange advice in the face of illness and hardship, but feeling gratitude and appreciating life are most important during difficult times. Consciously maintaining a positive outlook, counting your blessings and finding the humor in the situation are the keys to resilience.
As a caregiver, the fortitude and spirit within you will always be your most important resources to foster and protect.

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